Day 11: Cliff to Silver City

Started: Sep 28, 2010 8:11:37
Ride Time: 3:04:21
Stopped Time: 27:00
Distance: 29.33 miles
Average: 9.55 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 42.80 miles/h
Climb: 3863 feet
Calories: 1667

A short day today, and not a lot to report in terms of riding. The road into Silver City had a shoulder that would have been great to ride on if it weren’t covered in loose gravel, probably left over from a recent re-application of chipseal to the travel lane. It was almost all climbing to get in, but I had gotten an early start, and was in no hurry. Crossed the Continental Divide, which was much less epic than it sounds.

Silver City is a nice town. There’s a touristy main drag not far from where I’m staying. Since I’m a bike tourist, I can’t complain. Where I’m staying is with a Warm Showers host who runs a b&b. When she doesn’t have paying guests, she let’s WS members stay in the empty rooms. I’ve got a little apartment all to myself, and it’s really nice. If I ever pass through here on a road trip, I’d gladly pay to stay here.

I’ve always appreciated the starkness and emptiness of the desert states, but I’ve always done that appreciating inside an air-conditioned car cruising along at 70+ mph. It’s different when you’re on a bike averaging 11 mph. I see a lot more detail as well as a bigger picture, and I can observe gradual changes unfold. When I was riding through the Yuha Desert, I noticed that the terrain got rockier, and the earth shifted from yellow to red, as I moved through it. I mentioned this observation to Gwen, and she confirmed that the same changes are visible from the satellite view.

Tomorrow I ride over Emory Pass. I’ve had a few people tell me that it’s not as hard as the elevation profile suggests, and that it is beautiful. So I’m actually kind of looking forward to it. Depending on how much energy I have after, I’ll either stop in Hillsboro or push on to Hatch.

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